While none of the house’s inhabitants were famous, their stories reflect the challenges and choices that shaped both their community and the nation. American colonists created a new, genteel lifestyle, patriots stood for their freedoms in a revolution, and an enslaved young man considered what liberty would mean for him. The home also served as a gathering place for neighbors to come together to end slavery, while immigrants earned a livelihood in their new home, and a woman and her grandson contributed to the war effort during World War II with their victory garden. These are the true stories this house tells and what continues to make this one of the most popular exhibits at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. The house structure, along with displays about the families that lived there, provide poignant reminders that each era presents challenges to overcome and achievements to celebrate.
NAR’s Sponsorship and Exhibit Upgrades
While NAR has sponsored the exhibition since 2001, on September 1, the Association became the exclusive sponsor of the exhibit through 2030. To keep the exhibition compelling over the next 12 years, significant renovations were made to the “Within These Walls” exhibition.
New technologies and theatrical overlays were recently integrated, which serve to enliven the visitor experience with the impact of music, sound and light treatments. These upgrades create an even more compelling exhibition experience. In addition to the theatrical integrations, the exhibition website at americanhistory.si.edu/within-these-walls was updated, and content translations in eight languages are now delivered via mobile devices. Both elevate the value of this exhibition and the REALTOR® brand to a global stage, enabling visitors from around the world to explore the important ways ordinary people, in their daily home lives, have been part of great changes and events in American history.
Additionally, new displays were recently added, including a new artifact display case. This display is the first in a series of new house-and-home topics. In 2018, the display supports NAR’s yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, and showcases a pen used by President Lyndon B. Johnson to sign the Act.
As the United States continues to evolve, “Within These Walls” is well positioned through 2030 to share its stories with millions of visitors annually. This popular exhibition is an important reminder that “history happens at home,” thanks to the crucial role REALTORS® play in achieving the American Dream of homeownership. Learn more at NAR.realtor/articles/within-these-walls-exhibition.
Matt Lombardi is senior vice president, Marketing, Communications & Events for the National Association of REALTORS®.